simple
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈsɪmpəl/

Adjective

simple (comparative simpler, superlative simplest)

  1. Uncomplicated; taken by itself, with nothing added.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0088 ↗:
      “[…] We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic? […]”
    • 2001, Sydney I. Landau, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-78512-X, page 167,
      There is no simple way to define precisely a complex arrangement of parts, however homely the object may appear to be.
  2. Without ornamentation; plain.
  3. Free from duplicity; guileless, innocent, straightforward.
    • Full many fine men go upon my score, as simple as I stand here, and I trust them.
    • Must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue?
    • To be simple is to be great.
  4. Undistinguished in social condition; of no special rank.
    Antonyms: gentle
  5. (now, rare) Trivial; insignificant.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book X:
      ‘That was a symple cause,’ seyde Sir Trystram, ‘for to sle a good knyght for seyynge well by his maystir.’
  6. (now, colloquial) Feeble-minded; foolish.
  7. (heading, technical) Structurally uncomplicated.
    1. (chemistry) Consisting of one single substance; uncompounded.
    2. (mathematics) Of a group: having no normal subgroup.
    3. (botany) Not compound, but possibly lobed.
    4. (of a steam engine) Using steam only once in its cylinders, in contrast to a compound engine, where steam is used more than once in high-pressure and low-pressure cylinders.
      • 1959, Steam's Finest Hour, edited by David P. Morgan, Kalmbach Publishing Co., page 6:
        quote en
    5. (zoology) Consisting of a single individual or zooid; not compound.
      a simple ascidian
    6. (mineralogy) Homogenous.
  8. (obsolete) Mere; not other than; being only.
    • c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i]:
      A medicine […] whose simple touch / Is powerful to araise King Pepin.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations
Noun

simple (plural simples)

  1. (pharmacology) A herbal preparation made from one plant, as opposed to something made from more than one plant.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 37, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      I know there are some simples, which in operation are moistening and some drying.
    • What virtue is in this remedy lies in the naked simple itself as it comes over from the Indies.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare & Co.; Sylvia Beach, OCLC 560090630 ↗; republished London: Published for the Egoist Press, London by John Rodker, Paris, October 1922, OCLC 2297483 ↗:
      The first fellow that picked an herb to cure himself had a bit of pluck. Simples. Want to be careful.
    • 2003, Dolores Stewart Riccio, Charmed Circle, Kensington Books (ISBN 9780758203014), page 12:
      The venerable carryall, formerly brimming with all manner of esoteric pamphlets and witch's simples, now overflowed with a cascade of soft toys, juice bottles, tissues, linen books for infants, […]
  2. (obsolete, by extension) A physician.
  3. (logic) A simple or atomic proposition.
  4. (obsolete) Something not mixed or compounded.
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene i]:
      But it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels
  5. (weaving) A drawloom.
  6. (weaving) Part of the apparatus for raising the heddles of a drawloom.
  7. (Roman Catholic) A feast which is not a double or a semidouble.
Translations
Verb

simple (simples, present participle simpling; past and past participle simpled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, archaic) To gather simples, i.e. medicinal herbs.



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